England will be looking to retain the urn following the 3-2 win on home soil in 2015, but the scars of the 5-0 whitewash in 2013-14 will still linger for those who have made the trip before.
Joe Root has made a positive start to life as England captain, but several questions remain that were present towards the end of Alastair Cook’s reign.
Who will open the batting alongside Cook? Are England short of a top-order batsman? Have they got a potent third seam bowler?
Rewards4Cricket has chosen a preferred England XI for the First Test in Brisbane on 23rd November
Rewards4Cricket Ashes XI:
Alastair Cook – England’s record run-scorer looks like a new man after returning to the ranks this summer, a repeat of his 2010-11 series will do nicely.
Mark Stoneman –The selectors are yet to settle on a permanent partner for Alastair Cook and Stoneman deserves the chance to stake his claim after a fine season for Surrey.
Dawid Malan – The Middlesex man has begun his Test career at number five but a series of gutsy knocks have shown that he is mentally strong. A solid number three will be needed against one of the best attacks in world cricket.
Joe Root – The England captain is one the best batsmen in the world right now, he is more than ready for the greatest challenge of his career.
Jonny Bairstow – Bairstow has been frustrated batting at seven this summer, and one of England’s most gifted players should be batting higher up the order.
Ben Stokes – The Durham man is arguably the best all-rounder in world cricket. Stokes has shown glimpses of his talents in previous Ashes series, he is now more than capable of replicating Andrew Flintoff’s heroics of 2005.
Jos Buttler – A specialist in the shorter formats of the game, Buttler lost his place in the Test side last winter after an inconsistent spell. Whilst his inclusion at Brisbane is unlikely, his ability to change the game in one session arguably gives him the edge over the likes of Tom Westley and Keaton Jennings.
Moeen Ali – The popular all-rounder has had a fantastic summer against South Africa and West Indies. No Test team in the world has a better batsman at number eight, and his spin bowling is improving with every series.
Chris Woakes – Woakes’ accuracy gives him the edge over the likes of Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Finn for the third seamer’s spot for the First Test. It will be a long series, however, and there is likely to be some rotation amongst the trio.
Stuart Broad – At the age of 31, this could be Broad’s last tour down under. Broad has already enjoyed a fantastic Ashes career, and many Australia batsmen will still have nightmares about his 8-15 at Trent Bridge in 2015.
James Anderson – England’s leading wicket-taker is closing in on 500 Test wickets. If the bowling conditions suit swing bowling, Anderson will be as threatening as ever.
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